Saturday, May 5, 2018

At Last!

At long last, spring has sprung! My friend, Debbie, shared a glimpse of it from her neighborhood in Geneva, Illinois. These are crocuses, often known as the heralds of spring because they grow while there’s still snow on the ground. After our long, cold winter, they’re getting a late start.

I love the way these hardy little blossoms blanket the landscape with purple, lavender, and white. They spread with abandon through the grass, creating a patchwork of color.

The crazy quilt of crocuses reminded me of an old Dutchman’s Puzzle quilt I purchased many years ago.

What originally drew me to it were the gently faded colors, the softness that comes from years of use, and naturally, the $50 price tag. It's lightweight and perfect for sleeping under on a cool spring night.

Like most quilts meant for everyday use, this one has simple quilting designs ~ outlining of the triangle shapes in the pieced blocks, and a teacup pattern in the muslin squares. It is nicely hand quilted with small, even stitches.

I've mentioned before that I'm not a "pastel" person, yet that’s exactly what I love about this quilt ~ its charming 1940s prints in springtime colors! Maybe we all become fans of the softer hues when the weather warms up and the flowers are in bloom. 

Enjoy spring in your neighborhood!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Midwinter Blues

As I get older, I’m more and more grateful for my February birthday. Having something to celebrate midwinter keeps the blues at bay. This year, there were so many cards, phone calls, Facebook messages, impromptu visitors, gifts of coffee, flowers, tasty treats, and surprises in the mail, I never had time to feel sorry for myself! Thanks family and friends for making my birthday special.

Barb and I continue our tradition of swapping doll quilts (or the like) on one another's birthdays. This year's quilt from Barb is called "Midwinter Blues" and was originally designed by Lori DeJarnatt of Humble Quilts for her 2014 blog sew-along. You can get instructions to make your own at the following links: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Finale.

Barb's fabrics are exquisite, aren't they? Have you ever seen such deeply saturated blues? And the variety of cheddar prints she used makes the quilt sparkle.

She also chose one of her favorite designs for the quilting—an overall teacup pattern, machine stitched with silk thread. 

Want to guess what's on the back? It’s always a surprise.

If you look closely at the label, you'll see the secret this quilt holds. Barb originally made it for our dear friend, Mary, and has now entrusted it to me. Thank you Barb. I’m honored by your gift!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

“Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful!”

Happy holidays everyone! I hope this finds you well and looking forward to a brand new year.

For those of you living outside the purple zone on the weather map, it’s bitterly cold here, with single digit temperatures and double digit below zero wind chills. That’s breath-taking cold. Bone chilling cold. Frostbite cold! Jim has kept his "arctic" expeditions to a minimum, braving the elements only to trek down the driveway for mail or to shovel snow. Each time he opens the storm door, it whines in protest with an icy screech of metal on metal, as if to ask, “Are you sure you want to venture out today?” 

I'm keeping warm under a cozy new quilt that my friend, Mary Conley, gave me for Christmas. "The blocks might look familiar," she whispered, as she placed it in my lap to open. Indeed they did! They were red and green nine patches I'd abandoned years before when I first started sorting my life into projects worth my energy and those that were not. 

Apparently, Mary saw more potential in my castoffs than I did. Imagine her stitching them together almost 20 years later, and returning them to me as a finished quilt! 

I love the homespun plaid she used as an alternate fabric. It really accentuates the “on point” blocks, especially when contrasted with a “straight set” border. The quilting is a swirling, blustery, wind-like design. How appropriate!

Mary, Thank you for your kindness. I'll cherish this quilt and think of our friendship whenever I sleep under it, which in this weather will be just about every night

Friday, July 21, 2017

Will Strip for Fabric!

Hi everyone. Hope you're keeping cool this summer. I get so lethargic and irksome in this heat. Most days, it’s hard for me to do much more than nap! 

My Piecemaker friends, Sheila and Kathy, found photos of quilts made from the Kaleidoscope fabric exchange I described in my previous post. It’s fun to see how different they all turned out. Enjoy! 

Oh, and here’s our friend, Patt, dressed as a stripper, because... well... how else would you dress for a "strip" swap?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Hey, Macarena!

It’s been a while since I posted a bona fide, start to finish, sewn with my own two hands kind of quilt. I had to go back 20 years to find one, but this Kaleidoscope pretty much fits the bill.

Are you surprised to see a pastel color scheme from me? Generally, I don’t use soft colors. Here’s how I managed to collect such a wide variety. My Piecemaker friends swapped fabrics to make these Kaleidoscope quilts. Each of us took six yards of pastels from our own collection and cut them into 120 strips to share with the group.

On the day of the swap, the tables were piled high with pastel fabrics of all sorts. We paraded around the room to the festive rhythm of “Macarena,” eagerly snatching a strip from each table we passed. With all the laughter and fabric flying, we probably looked like a crazy Conga line or grown-up game of Musical Chairs. Nah, just quilters having fun. "Hey, Macarena!”

For my quilt, I chose colors and prints reminiscent of the 1930s. After sorting and sewing strips together, I cut the eight segments required for each block using this 45 Degree Kaleidoscope Wedge Ruler.  (It includes directions for block and quilt construction.)

I had fun coordinating the colors within blocks... 

but, I like the scrappiness of random fabrics just as much.

Nothing went to waste; leftover strips found their way into the scrappy border.

84" x 100"
Machine quilting by Stover Quality Quilting.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Another Year Older

23 February 2017

Dear Barb,

My birthday quilt arrived and I wish you could see the ear to ear grin on my face after tearing through the wrappings. What a happy piece of patchwork to open on a gray February day!

The Log Cabin doll quilt is charming. Such sweet colors! Is there anything better than pink and blue sitting side by side like this? 

Thank you for sharing your last bit of bird toile for the quilt backIt makes an elegant foil to those quirky conversation prints on the front. Baseball players and baby faces ~ Such fun!


Your birthday quilts always take the edge off turning another year older. Thank you for this reminder of our cherished friendship, Barb. I love it, and you too!

CLICK HERE to read about previous birthday quilts.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Humble Orphans

I have a memory from my early friendship with Barb, of visiting her sewing room and exploring a drawer full of “orphan” quilt blocks. You know the type of thing: abandoned blocks, leftover blocks, vintage blocks, assorted oddments that otherwise have no home. What fun it would be, I thought, to arrange them, like puzzle pieces, into different quilt layouts.

That’s exactly what Barb did when she made this birthday quilt for me last year. It’s all “orphan blocks” from her stash. The quilt measures 10” x 12” and is “randomly set with blocks of different sizes, made to fit by adding on or trimming back, as need be.

I’m guessing Barb started her layout with the vintage Shoo Fly block, then added Broken Dishes to continue the classic blue and brown color scheme. When the strip of Flying Geese blocks was too long to fit, Barb simply cut it off, leaving a partial block which only adds to the quilt's charm.

On the back is a beautiful botanical/bird chinz in rich colors, made richer by a gentle tea bath when all was finished. 

Before my birthday, I had my eye on this vintage bowl from Etsy. It’s the sweetest thing, just 3” tall and 5” across, with a hefty round base and the loveliest shade of blue. "Just what I need," I convinced myself, picturing it filled with old buttons, sitting atop a scrappy quilt. 

When Barb sent me this quilt… I went back and bought the bowl. Happy birthday to me!

*UPDATED May,2018*

Barb recently posted photos of her orphan block stash. Wouldn't you just love to reach right in there and start playing?